I swear, Microsoft are keeping the good stuff coming.

A new Windows 8 article and video have been released showing how Windows 8 will handle ISO and VHD files.

Some relevant quotes:

So how does this work in Windows 8? It’s quite simple – just “mount” the ISO file (you can select mount from the enhanced Explorer ribbon or double-click or right-click on the file), and a new drive letter appears, indicating that the contents are now readily accessible.

Underneath the covers, Windows seamlessly creates a “virtual” CDROM or DVD drive for you on-the-fly so you can access your data. Let’s walk through the flow that will enable you to access such an ISO file.

Some screenshots showing the mounting of an ISO file in Windows 8.

Windows 8 Mounting a new ISO 2

Windows 8 Mounting a new ISO 2

Windows 8 Mounting a new ISO 3

Windows 8 Mounting a new ISO 3

and there will be changes in the handling of VHD’s as well.


The Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format is a publicly-available image format specification that allows encapsulation of the hard disk into an individual file for use by the operating system as a virtual disk in all the same ways physical hard disks are used. The VHD format is used by Hyper-V to store information for Virtual Machines.

In Windows7 & Windows Server 2008 r2 we have the ability to boot the system off a VHD file, and we had command line and MMC plugins for managing them. VHDs are handy for portability of system settings or to play back what has been saved as a snapshot of a system.

Accessing a VHD in Windows 8 is as simple as what we’ve done with ISO files, but there is one important difference: rather than appearing as a removable drive (as is the case with ISO), VHDs appear as new hard drives.


Windows 8 Accessing a VHD 1

Windows 8 Accessing a VHD 1

Windows 8 Accessing a VHD 2

Windows 8 Accessing a VHD 2

Ejecting the VHD thumb

Ejecting the VHD thumb

There will be tons more updates at the BUILD conference.

Read more about Windows 8 and accessing data in ISO and VHD files here.

Here’s the video..


About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of EyeOnWindows.com, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. (www.learnabouttheweb.com) and The Redmond Cloud (https://www.theredmondcloud.com).

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  1. Rodney Jenkins / August 30, 2011 at 1:14 am /Reply

    They just keep the good stuff coming!

  2. It seems that Windows 8 will feature support for important functions that a user has to install a third party application for.

  3. Why is nobody mentioning the new start menu from this video? That is just as important a reveal IMO.

    Also, I noticed the VHD was called Windows 8 AMD64. Do you think this is any indicator that ARM versions might be able to run legacy software through a VHD. I know virtualisation usually requires the same architecture (i.e. can’t install virtual 64-bit on a 32-bit machine) but would  this be able to be overcome without too much hassle?

    • Yeah I have been reading about the new start menu etc from other sites. I am just going in a different direction. 

      I’ll be at the BUILD conference in a few weeks and it doesn’t make sense to speculate too wildly at this point when we will know for sure soon.Just my take.:-)

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